How real "Virtuality" can get?
Not long ago, I took part in a Virtual Reality (VR) product demonstration in a shopping centre in London. One of the mobile giants was launching their new set of VR headsets to the public. The idea was to take all of us to a VR trip to Six Flags in California. I have to admit, I was very reluctant about this new experience, but when I was sitting in that chair with my headset on, it felt almost as if I was there; I felt vertigo, the reaction of people next to me, the wind, I felt even the heat of the sun, even though, I subconsciously knew I was indoors.
If you have a smartphone and around £80 spare for the headset you can easily experience anything you want, the question is: with this kind of technology now so accessible, would you think that the future of aviation training will become more affordable? Would pilots be able to have more VR-SIM hours in the convenience of their own home? Would TRE/TRI's become digitalised?
We've asked Petar Lavrinov, Chief Pilot (TRE/TRI) from Bulgaria Air to give us his opinion about this new technology:
"VR is a great tool, but from my point of view, rather than making training cheaper, it will lead to more expensive one because these VR-SIM's are not in such wide use yet. Replacing the good old SIM's will take some time because VR will need to be certified first after that they have to prove their reliability and afterwards be accepted by Civil Aviation Authorities around the world.
Mr. Kurmo Annus, TRE/TRI for Bombardier is skeptical about the future implementation of VR in training: "In aviation, everything comes slowly" He thinks that this technology will be implemented fully in 20 years time.
We will never be sure about the implementation or not of this new technology, but what all, instructors and examiners agree on, is in the fact that the human factor in the cadet training will never be replaced by technology "The CRM part in the training is very hard to train by computers and also difficult to measure by computers" says Mr Annus.